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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  December 22, 2010 1:00pm-2:00pm EST

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right now on "andrea mitchell reports", the end of don't ask, don't tell. president obama signed the historic repeal ending 17 years of conflict over gays in the military. >> no longer will tens of thousands of americans in uniform be asked to live a lie or look over their shoulder in order to serve the country that they love. a holiday warning on terror. officials say they're working around the clock to prevent a repeat of last year's christmas day bombing attempt. >> we're concerned about al qaeda's attempts to planned attacks. we need to be on top of our game particularly during the holiday season but throughout the year. finishing start. the senate is expected to start voting sometime this afternoon
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to ratify the fluke clar arms reduction treaty and president obama will hold a press conference shortly after. and down to the wire on the health care bill for 9/11 heroes. a report now that a last-minute deal has been reached just before legislators leave town. today i'm mark whitaker live in washington in for andrea mitchell. historic day in the capitol for the u.s. military and gay rights activists. >> thank you! yes, we did. >> what felt like a throwback, he signed the repeal to the 17-year-old don't ask, don't tell policy. seven weeks after his mid-term shellacking where does this leave the president as he heads to hawaii for his delayed christmas vacation?
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nbc's mike is live outside the white house. this reminds me of a year ago as the president was heading off getting a last-minute vote on the health care. tell me what the mood is like at the white house? >> they're walking on egg shells here, mark, because they don't want to disrupt the karma that has led to this incredible and extraordinary winning streak for the president and democrats and not only that they've done it in a bipartisan way in most cases. we mentioned the fact that it had that campaign sort of atmosphere in that interior department auditorium. they had to move it away from the white house. there was so many christmas decorations here. they couldn't jam in all the people in the east room behind me where they would ordinarily have a ceremony like this. ultimately celebratory. you hear people shouting back and forth. a happy thing the president had there with supporters. he promised back in the campaign for the president in 2008 that this was something on his agenda. for 17 years obviously as you know, mark, this policy has been in place. 14,000 people expelled for
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openly serving in the military, gay members openly serving in the military. many people have become very upset, particularly gay activists with the president. they thought he was dragging his feet. today a promise delivered. it comes at the end of i should say in the middle of that winning streak. it started in the tax cut agreement with republicans. don't ask, don't tell in a rare weekend with the senate. left for dead two weeks ago, mark. the s.t.a.r.t. treaty appears to be ratified within a matter of hours for the senate now. defense authorization bill. they've apparently come to an agreement on the 9/11 first responders bill to enhance some of the compensation and benefits a lot of first responders have gotten. a deal now lowering that original price tag from $7 billion down now to $4 billion. >> mike, no sooner did the president get this very emotional victory and this signing that we all watched, then robert gibbs tried it out during his press briefing, john
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brennen, the terror expert to talk about worries about a christmas attack. do they have any real hard evidence that there may be something in the offing or was this just to show that they're on the case? >> no specific or credible threats. he is the counter terrorism adviser here at the white house. this was a reassuring thing. if you recall last year when the president went to hawaii for his annual holiday vacation and int dentally we expect him to leave within the next day or two, as soon as all this senate business is done, that the christmas day bomber struck -- it was something that was viewed as a falling down of the american intelligence community. it did not speak well to the communication between these various agencies that was supposed to have been rectified. and then another controversy yesterday, mark, when james clapper, the new director of national intelligence, was asked about the european arrest, the takedown of suspected terrorists in europe in a broadcast interview he had no idea, completely caught flatfooted.
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this was john brennan's explanation for that incident. >> should he have been breach briefed by the staff? yes. he is focusing on those intelligence issues the president expects him to focus on and make sure we don't have conflict in different parts of the world. not being briefed yesterday afternoon. he should have been briefed on. they've taken steps to correct that now. >> mark, when all is said and done perhaps later today we do expect the president to have a press conference before he gets on that plane, air force one, and heads to hawaii. mark? >> mike, live at the white house. thank you. house majority leader steny hoyer joins us live from the capitol. leader hoyer, many people are saying that you more than anybody are responsible for the legislative strategy that got this don't ask, don't tell repeal done before the end of the year stripping it out of the authorization bill, fast tracking it through the house,
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getting a vote in the senate before the s.t.a.r.t. vote. can you tell us a little bit about how you approach that how you got it done? >> first of all, of course, there are an awful lot of people who worked very, very hard for a very long period of time to get to this day, where we saw the president sign the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. and what it really was today was another affirmation in america's quest towards making sure that people are treated for what they are. their performance, their character, and not on some arbitrary distinction which really doesn't matter in terms of performance. and, yes, i played a role and we had a strategy at the end which said, okay, you can't pass it in the defense bill as we did in the house. we'll put that bill as a separate item. i discussed it with the advocates. i discussed it with the senate and the republican senators and senator lieberman and with speaker pelosi. and i suggested this strategy
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which we pursued and was successful. but this is an effort that has been a very long effort, literally involving thousands of people who have worked very, very hard. and so many members of the service who have served patriotically with great courage, with great service to our country. and then unfortunately removed from the service almost 14,000 people whose only downside from their standpoint was their sexual orientation. not their performance on the job. not their patriotism, not their heroism. and today we have affirmed that no america is about capability, character, and performance. >> just briefly, just a few weeks ago a lot of your members were very angry about the tax bill and were saying the president should have fought harder to fight for ending the tax cuts for the top bracket.
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but the white house was arguing that you needed to get that out of the way before you could get don't ask, don't tell and s.t.a.r.t. and other things accomplished. have some of the feelings there changed given what's been accomplished since then? >> well, i think this lame-duck session has been anything but lame. it has been, i think, probably the most productive post-election session in which i've participated. and i don't think that's necessarily by happenstance. i think the fact that the politics are somewhat over. they're never fully over. but the election is not facing us. and people were prepared to come together and work together for progress. and in terms of the tax bill to which you referred, the president knew and we knew that we did not want taxes to go up for middle income working americans. we knew that we wanted to extend unemployment insurance for those who, through no fault of their own, were having trouble putting food on their tables, that they needed help in an insurance program for which they had paid.
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so that the president knew we had to get those things done. and he knew that in order to do so we had to make an agreement perhaps as most compromises are, accepting some things you didn't like to get the things you did like. so i think the answer to your question is, i think members more and more are coming to the realization that it was a positive act, whether they voted for or against, a positive act in making sure that our primary objectives were met. were there some things in that bill that people didn't like that they didn't think would help grow the economy? the answer to that is yes. but i think upon greater thought, the president's actions are perceived, i think, correctly,as getting to a place where we needed to be and the legislative process is a process of compromise. >> and just very briefly. do you have a deal on the 9/11 health bill to get that through without the delay? >> i've talked to senator schumer. i've talked to senator reid, the
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majority leader in the senate. i'm told that, yes, there is an agreement between the democratic side, the proponents of 9/11, giving those people who bravely went into the world trade center after it collapsed to try to save lives, extricate people and to find people who may not have -- did not survive. but as a result of the environment that existed, they got sick. we think that we need to make sure that there's compensation for those folks. we now reached an agreement on that, i understand the senate. i'm hopeful the senate will be passing us that bill within the hour and that we will take it out shortly thereafter and i'm hopeful and believe that we will pass it. frankly, we're hopeful we can get an agreement with our republican colleagues, the republican leadership in the house, that perhaps will not impede in any way the passage of that legislation. >> house majority leader steny hoyer joining us from the
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capitol, thanks very much. happy holidays. >> thank you, mark. happy holidays to your and your viewers. >> thank you. the pentagon is now under pressure to certify repeal of don't ask, don't tell as soon as possible. >> i have spoken to every one of the service chiefs and they are all committed to implementing this change swiftly and efficiently. we are not going to be dragging our feet to get this done. >> here with us now is steven clemmons senior fellow and director of the american strategy program at the new america foundation. steve, you were actually at the interior department. >> great day. >> just talk about your feelings. >> it was very emotional. interesting to see so many people from so many generations there together. real heroes in the gay and lesbian community and many other friends. soldiers who fought one of the most poignant moments when president obama said gettysburg, eye o iwo jima, battle of the bulge,
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this is not new. people are serving their country and putting their lives at risk as they are. >> you volt this as a civil rights issue. he loosed a l e ed used a lot oe that he used during the campaign. >> yes. some use this as a civil rights pat down the road. i think this is a pivotal moment. one got that feeling there today. and i think when you just showed that clip about having him having talked to all the military chiefs as well, there's one in particular in the marines, general amos, that they were all interested to see how that goes and to see if, in fact, pentagon will institute all the kinds of things that he need to do to manage a responsible transition and to manage people lives in the way it works. that's going to take some time. it was very clear from president obama's enthusiasm that they want it done post haste. >> let's talk about implementation. i believe the president said in the ceremony in a few months,
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robert gibbs said six months. >> right. >> how does -- how does this play out now? >> well, i'm hoping robert gibbs is wrong and that president obama is right. i think if you see something for two or three months the president said today for all of those people who have been kicked out of the military for being gay, i hope you re-enlist. so that raises the, you know, sort of silliness of continuing to prosecute and to move people out of the military at the same time the president of the united states is saying, turn right back around and come back, we need you. so i think there is going to be a period of time we don't know what it will be. but you know, mike mullen there got an amazing standing ovation. he put his career and frankly his heart on the line, i think, in very clear ways. i think he is going to do everything he can to move this forward quickly even though he may have a general or two in the mix. >> that was a key moment, i think, when admiral mullen testified and said this is a matter of integrity and not
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asking servicemen to live a lie. >> i went up to make mullen at a dinner once and i went as my role as a policy guy and i said i rally want to thank you for that statement. i don't know how many people want uk to you in these kind of forums. he said, i can tell you almost none. he was glad that people looked beyond this as a gay issue and dealing with american society as a whole that strengthens the military. >> steve clemmons. >> thank you. >> thanks for being here. >> thank you. up next, start at the finish line. the final passage of the treat ity is in sight. former secretary of defense william cohen is live in studio. plus, president obama thanks congress for what he calls two of the most productive years in its history is now the time to take a victory lap? this is "andrea mitchell reports."
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mnb news confirmed the deal to pass the 9/11 responders deal. kelly, we weren't sure whether we were going to have time to get this done before the lame duck ended. so what broke the impasse? >> well, a lot of new details to tell you about. with so much public pressure on this, mark, a lot of media attention, heartfelt pleas from first responders who made the trip to washington from new york. so here's what we've just learned. republican aides say their side has been able to negotiate major concessions, that was their term, on cost and some other changes. democrats are able to get this deal done, meaning there won't be any kind of procedural slowdown that would cause this to drift into next year. so among the changes that i'm learning about the over all cost over ten years would be $4.2
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billion. that's significantly lower. it would do some things within the program to try to hold on cost, like making certain if someone gets benefits from this fund they're not also getting be benefits from a previous type of program that the government put in place. a lot of kinds of things that republicans feel would give more clarity to the program and to what money is spent. we expect this to move forward quickly. a very swift resolution with a lot of personal negotiation going on just this morning. mark? >> i think a lot of congressmen realize that would be a tough thing to go back and tell their constituents that they didn't get that done. now, kelly, tell us where we are on the s.t.a.r.t. treaty vote. earlier senator reid talked about a vote as early as this afternoon. >> more by partisanship is springing out.
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245i agre they agreed to accept a couple of ones, this would be a way to put in writing some of the things that the president has responded to after concerns were raised about money for modernization of the u.s. nuclear arsenal and some assurances about u.s. missile defense not being in any way constrained by terms of this treaty. so by adapting those working that all in, they can claim progress on both sides and, therefore, we expect full passage later today with a larger than we had originally expected republican showing. 11 republicans voted to get it through. on an earlier step we would expect many more this afternoon. >> right. they needed 67 votes but a lot of people think they'll get 70 plus. kelly o'donnell, thank you for that report from capitol hill. new s.t.a.r.t. has received yunanimous support from secretaries of state and defense. one of them william cohen zeserd as defense secretary under president clinton.
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mr. secretary, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> tell us foir ol all about the importance of getting this treaty ratified. how is american viewed around the world? >> if you look at it from a geopolitical point of view you would say here you have every former republican as well as democrats, secretary of state, republican national security adviser and secretaries of defense, all of whom with a min minor exception perhaps come out in favor. if they were able to persuade the congress to ratify the agreement it would certainly send a signal that making treaties with the united states is not such a good idea. i think is significance is it strengthens his hand to deal with these issues in the future, politically. and i think it strengthens his hand as far as he has seen even this country that this is an important security matter for the united states. he was able to persistence,
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along with support from richard luger, we can't underestimate what he has helped to achieve over the years on these issues as well as senator kerry and others. i think this is a very important bill in the strategic sense and looking at it geo politically in the political sense, in the best sense of that world. >> tsticking points were the effectiveness it would have on our ability to deploy missile defense, to move fward in terms of future treaties on tactical nuclear weapons and modernizing our force. do you think that those were non-issues to begin with or did they need to be raised and how have they been resolves? >> i think they needed to be raised to satisfy concerns. senator kyle should be congratulated for his determination to raise the amount of funding. he gets credit for that.
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the other dealing with verification i think have been generally satisfied. they need to be raised because it's always a question, can you trust the russians? we don't trust. we verify as president reagan said and here there are verification measures, not as severe perhaps as senator colin wanted but i think severe enough for the satisfaction of most who have looked at this that we are well protected. so transparency, verification, modernization. i think those issues had to be raised. they've been raised. i think substash yated. >> you mentioned president reagan's adage, trust but verify. it seems some of the republican critics don't even trust anymore. one of the concerns they have is whether the language is strong enough to keep the current russian leadership of walking away from the deal entirely. is that something we need to worry about? >> if the russians walk away from the deal the russians are certainly would encourage or incur the wrath in disrespect to other nations. to the extent we can work
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together this is one of the few areas we can agree with the russians on. this one is pretty critical. it does really validate a relationship with the country in terms of their role in helping to dissuade iran to develop nuclear weapons, helping to persuade the north koreas and the six-party talks should they be resumed, now have the russians on our side and the chinese as well. so this is all part of the image of the united states being in charge of the security agenda. i think it's very important that this was -- this will be ratified. >> thank you for joining us. it says a lot about what's going on today that we didn't even get to don't ask, don't tell, which you had to oversee during the clinton administration. thank you. how the bill to -- sick rescue workers who responded to the 9/11 attacks got taken off life support. that's next. and after nearly a week, california can't seem to get a break. we'll go live to the rain-soaked
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more know on a developing story we're tracking. nbc news confirms the deal in the senate on the 9/11 health bill. provide billions in said to people who grew sick after being exposed to toxins at ground zero. jean comings is the new manager. i always tell people in washington, the clock really rules. and it's just amazing how much stuff can get done in the last minute, particularly when the legislators are anxious to get home to their districts. but isn't this a classic example of all this stuff just coming together at the last minute? >> oh, it's so true. and the other thing that we are seeing in this lame duck we haven't seen in a very long time is that the two parties are actually negotiating out agreements so that they can move the legislation and things just aren't bottled up. >> what happened with come colburn?
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we expected he was going to be the skunk at the party, the guy who said, look, this 9/11 bill just costs too much? how are his concerns addressed? >> well, first of all, the bill has shunk by a couple billion dollars down from 6.7 or there abouts to $4.2 billion and more of it will go to compensation as opposed to care in the future. so they changed the formula a bit so that it's more acceptable in terms of its size and cost. and, two, senator colburn. i also think, mark, that we, the outpouring over this bill has been amazing based on talk show hosts. jon stuart at comedy central and at fox news, they started sounding the alarm over there as well. what fr what i hear from people who some of the group who actually oppose the bill, they have so much incoming, coming in criticizing them for standing up
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against this aid for people who are viewed as heroes, that it's very difficult. i mean, the opposition is just crumbling from the weight of it all. >> jean cummings of politico, thanks very much. you're right. i think that jon stewart show was a key pivotal moment in this debate. okay. after is surprising couple of weeks, is president obama on the rebound? we'll ask the national journal's ron brownstein next. haiti, thousands of diplomatic cables leaked, elections in afghanistan, what was the biggest international news story of 2010? we've got the list. this is "andrea mitchell reports." [ male announcer ] this is lara. her morning begins with arthritis pain. that's a coffee and two pills.
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the afternoon tour begins with more pain and more pills. the evening guests arrive. back to sore knees. back to more pills. the day is done but hang on... her doctor recommended aleve. just 2 pills can keep arthritis pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is lara who chose 2 aleve and fewer pills for a day free of pain. and get the all day pain relief of aleve in liquid gels.
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hi, everybody. i'm thomas roberts at msnbc world headquarters in new york. two firefighters were killed while battling a blaze at an abandoned building in chicago this morning. they apparently got trapped in the rubble after a wall
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collapsed. officials say 14 other firefighters were also injured. south korea today is mobilizing hundreds of troops, tanks and helicopters for military exercise firing drills are planned for tomorrow near the border. today the south vowed to completely punish the north if it attacks again. europe's travel crisis is easing slightly today as airports across the continent take advantage of clearer skies. snow and freezing temps caused wide spread cancelations and delays in recent days. forecasters warn another round of severe weather could be on the way. speaking of which, after days of relentless rain in southern california is getting slammed today with the most intense storm yet. torrance shul rain flooding a possibility of tornados are forcing evacuations. the weather channel's eric fisher is in flint ridge where vac wevacuations have already b ordered. i know sometimes those people dig in they want to day in their houses. are,000 responding to
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evacuations? >> you would be right on the money there, tom. this is exact what they've been doing. they ordered 220 evacuations. the police are telling us that five families, that's it, actually left their homes last night. a lot of them are just going to the good old-fashioned barricade. instead of christmas shopping they're using sandbags to protect their home. i noticed in the last couple of seconds, it's getting brighter. when you have that cold pool of air coming in, a little bit of sunshine will create thunderstorms. in those thunderstorms is the heavy downpours that create the flash flooding and also the potential for mud slides. that's something we will be watching this afternoon. worst hit this morning by far, orange county. laguna beach area under water in downtown, mud slides, swift water rescues. some are still in progress right now. also looking at road closures. most of the roads to the mountains to the east closed today as well. the this storm affecting so many people. almost there.
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looks like 12 more hours. and then finally, we will dry out here in southern california and all this flooding threat will start to die away. that's the latest in flint ridge, back to you. >> thank you. i'm going to send it back down to mark whitaker in washington, d.c. hey there, mark. >> thanks, thomas. well, president obama is scheduled a last-minute press conference before leaving for his hawaii vacation. he's expected to take credit for a string of major legislative victories in the 111th congress. the don't ask, don't tell signing ceremony this morning the president played to the history books. >> today we're marking a historic milestone but also the culmination of two of the most productive years in the history of congress. >> with me now, ron brownstein, political director of atlantic media and editorial director of the national journal groups. a lot of history being invoked here. >> yeah. >> but how do you explain this paradox? on the one hand, all of these
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achievement democrats in this congress and yet they lost 53 seats in the midterm election. >> history invoked, deservedly so. on the one hand, probably the most productive legislative session, the most ability of a rt ability of a party to advance more agenda than we've seen in the first two years of lyndon johnson and then punctuated by the biggest losses in the mid terl since 1938. come back and have a series of legislative victories in the lame-duck session. on the one hand i think it underscores the quasi-parliamentary nature of our congress and ability of a majority to hold together and pass legislation. democrats held together better under president obama or clinton or reagan. on the other hand, i think the big problem democrats had is their agenda did not seem to be a directed at the main concern of the country. there was an ideological backlash to be sure among 42% of the electorate, about the sheer
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sky, scope and cost of it. the biggest problem, i think, was the country was focused primarily on the economy. and the democrats while they achieve many other things did not make a lot of headway on that. >> in january we have the beginning of divided government. we will all agree, junkies like you, that we also is the kickoff probably to the 2012 campaign. so how does the president coming off these achievements, having to deal with what mitch mcconnell and john boehner were saying would be a lot tougher opposition than he's seen in the last couple of months on a whole variety of issues, how is he -- does he continue to try to get things done while also trying to position himself for the next presidential election? >> i think he's given us a pretty good hint that we're going to see a mixture of con sill rags and confrontation. on one hand he made a deal on tax wres he thought his hand was weakest because of the pending possibility of tax rates rising and he was showing he was willing to take some heat and welcome some heat to the democratic left. on the other hand, on new
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s.t.a.r.t. he drew a line in the sand and even when republicans like jon kyl and mitch mcconnell were saying we're going to block this he steamed forward by bringing in every living former republican secretary of state. i think we're going to see both. i don't think you're going to see harry truman or bill clinton. you're going to see a mixture of both. you're going to see a defensive posture trying to hold on to the achievements. and from a political point of view reposition himself in a way to be more attractive to the independent voters and move sharply away from democrats this year. >> national journal's ron brownstein, the president, i guess, more of a fighter sometimes than he seems. i think some of the democrats, particularly the house would like to see a little bit more emotional fight from him sometimes. thank you. >> thank you. well, if you haven't had enough of end of the year lists, here's a new one on foreign news. atlanta.com has come up with picks for the biggest international stories of 2010. max fisher is associate editor of atlantic.com.
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he joins me now. max, you know i'm an old magazine editor. i love lists. you've got a whole range from the end of combat operations in iraq to the haiti earthquake even to the world cup and, of course, wikileaks. of all of them can you pick the top story in your view? >> probably the biggest story this year was the drawdown in iraq. the struggle there is far from over. you've still got pretty serious security concerns. a lot of sectarian violence. for normal people, especially in baghdad, life is far from returning to normal. we finally see in the war drawn down. it's not really a war anymore. we're finally seeing prime minister maliki coming to government in eight months. so you are seeing promising steps from the country that just a few years ago looked on the brink of total collapse, which is a good story. >> you know when i looked at the list i thought you might say
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wikileaks, not just because it was a huge story this year, but that it really shown for the first time in a dramatic way a light on the whole issue of cyber security and potential cyber terror. >> yes. >> yeah, i think that going forward, the real lesson from wikileaks is going to be cyber security. the cable themselves are embarrassing and distracting. but the big lesson is if an activist group and one guy sitting in a cubicle in iraq somewhere can leak all these cables why can't foreign governments and intelligence services get in this came? some states will return to information warfare over the internet and with leaks like this. >> okay, max fisher from the atlantic.com. thanks so much for being with us. coming up, today on "dylan ratigan" wick ki leaks founder julian assange will be with dylan. live from the mansion in england where he's currently on house arrest. don't miss it. tend of an era, long
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struggle over don't ask, don't tell is finally over. up next, retired army commander, rare activists who came out of the closet and managed to stay in the military. her take on this no mmomentous . >> as the first generation to serve openly in our armed forces you will stand for all those who came before you. and you need to look no further than the servicemen and women in this room, distinguished officers like former navy ♪ but i really love my bank ♪ i hate-- didn't quite catch that last bit. i said i really love my bank. right... is there a problem ? it's not really raging, man. uh, we were hoping for more raging ? well, you said write from the heart. yeah... don't do that. at ally, you'll love our online savings account. named the best of 2010 by money magazine. ally. do you love your bank ?
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14,000 u.s. service members have been discharged under don't ask, don't tell. navy command eer zeo dunning is one exception. she served 13 years before retiring in 2007. commander dunning was on the stage with the president today and joins me now. so that must have been a big moment. the me when you got the call that you were going to be there and when you learned you were actually going to be on stage
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with the president. >> well, i heard about three days ago i had been selected to be up on stage. they wanted service members there to represent those who had been impacted. he was excited and honored and felt a tremendous responsibility as well. as you mentioned, there's been tens of thousands negatively impacted by this policy. i felt responsibility to represent them up there. tremendously exciting and honored. >> can you tell us a little bit more about your story because it's unusual. you came out of the closet shortly after this blame a big issue. and yet you stayed on until 2007 when you retired. you got commended, you know, as a commander and so forth. how did that happen? >> mine was sort of a unique epgs exception. i was one of the frist test cases under don't ask, don't tell. i think there was confusion on how one prosecutes one and how one defends it. we took a strategy, without getting into the nitty-gritty
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legal details. if you make a statement that you're gay or lesbian, your presumed conduct. you have to rip up the prurp shun of conduct. i took the stand and said, look, when i said i'm a lesbian, i was talking about who i am, i wasn't talking about anybody else. the board of officers found in my favor. after that happened i won retention, the pentagon issued a memorandum to all legal officers after that and said, taking the stand and making that statement is not sufficient for the presumption. i became this exception and allowed to continue to serve and served openly for 13 years. >> and you led others er servic people, you won models, commendations. just in practical terms, what are the lessons of your experience in terms of how the military needs to deal with this now and implementation? >> one of the key things in my case is the military itself said you can continue to serve and we're going to allow you to stay in. so i think that set the tone for how people treated me and i also tried to be professional, come to work every day, do my job.
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and you know, they responded in kind. so as you mentioned, i got actually selected for promotion between my two discharge hearings. at one point they were trying to kick me out. on the other hand, they were promoting me. in fact, actually during my after-duty time i served next door to here, which is now under homeland security but i served on two years active duty right next door to the studio. >> you were in the reserves. do you think it's going to very on terms. marine corps including the commandante have been quite hostile to this repeal. >> that's great thing about the military. if anyone can do this, the military can. it has that top-down structure. if the senior leadership demonstrated by mullen and gates says we're going to do this and the service chiefs fall in line, which they have indicated they will and that is what president obama said today at the signing ceremony, the service chiefs have committed in leading this effort. when you've got that tone set from above, it will trickle down through the ranks and i think that it will actually be a
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fairly smooth implementation. >> do you have a timetable when you think we will no longer be talking about this? >> i heard certification process will take months, not a year. when i spoke with admiral mullen on the stage today he looked me in the eye and reassured me and said we're going to get this done. it's going to take strong leadership but we're going to get this done. >> you were saying a couple weeks ago you thought this was a lost cause for a couple of years. this has to be a very big day for you. happy holidays. >> it's truly a joyous day not only for me but also all of america. >> thank you. >> thank you. what story will make headlines in the next 24 hours? that's next. and be sure to follow the show online at andrea.msnbc.com. ring ring ring ring
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which story will make headlines in the next 24 hours? with me now, jonathan caphart.
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we've got to start where we think the voting is about to begin. >> right. >> tell me, you know, it looks like we may get 70 votes, but they may not include mitch mcconnell and jon kyl. what does that say that you can get a bill through if it's opposed by the senate majority leader? >> it sounds like there are members of the minority leader's caucus who are going to defy him. the democrats feel they've got the votes. maybe even 70 votes to get this passed. clore ly clearly this is a priority for the president and for harry reid. it's a priority for the congress. and so it looks like the senate and the senate republicans are going to defy their leader. >> okay. so now on the 9/11 bill, are you hearing the same thing that we are, that there's a deal to get that through before everybody flees out of town, which i know they're all eager to do right
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now? >> it looks like -- i think kelly o'donnell has been reporting this. a deal has been struck to reduce costs and, you know, take care of waste, fraud, and abuse, as they say. but i think perhaps they're still trying to work out the kinks, and a vote will come later today. >> and what about the press conference this afternoon from the president? what tone do you think is appropriate for him to take? is there a danger here of spiking the -- the ball in the end zone? >> well, you know, i think the president is within his right to call this press conference to do a bit of a victory lap. it's a matter of whether it's a show-boaty sprint around the track or if it's a very respectful one in pointing out the fact that he had these priorities, he called on congress to get them done, and congress got them done. >> okay. so, jonathan, i think you're a column writer. there's going to be a context over the next few weeks to try to rename lame duck since this
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has hardly been a lame duck session. do you have a name for it? do you have another animal that you want to name the session after? >> maybe -- maybe looming tiger. i don't know. but clearly, what ended up happening here was that we had a congress that had a very aggressive and progressive agenda, had a president who after getting shellacked started working on all cylinders to get his agenda done and through. come january 5th, it's a whole new ball game. republicans take over the house. the democrats lose a bit of their majority. but stay in the majority in the senate. mitch mcconnell, the minority leader who said he wants to make it his business to ensure that president obama is a one-term president, will be a little bit stronger in that -- in that pursuit. >> yeah. a very interesting next chapter. you'll be there along with us to cover it. that does it for this edition of
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"andrea mitchell reports." i'm mark whittaker in washington. i'll be back tomorrow. we'll look at the coming battle between obama and the republicans are major garrett of the national journal. remember to follow the show online and on twitter. tamron hall has a look at what's next on "news nation." >> in our next hour, we're following the latest on capitol hill. we've learned that a deal regarding the 9/11 responders' health bill has just been reached. the deal is done and they expect it to pass this afternoon. breaking details. and the latest on the s.t.a.r.t. treaty. where that is now. the vote is expected any minute. we're also following a developing story out of chicago. two firefighters were killed and 14 more injured in the line of duty. a live report from chicago. and the white house tries to calm fears, but terrorists attack during the holiday season as an intel gaff is brought to life. the "news nation" is minutes away. it's called the new humana
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but i knew that i was going to need a day job. we actually have a lot of scientists that play music. the creativity, the innovation, there's definitely a tie there. one thing our scientists are working on is carbon capture and storage, which could prevent co2 from entering the atmosphere. we've just built a new plant to demonstrate how we can safely freeze out the co2 from natural gas. it looks like snow. it's one way that we're helping provide energy with fewer emissions.
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